The Georgia legislature in Atlanta passed a sweeping change to Georgia Uninsured Motorist Insurance coverage law this past session and the law goes into effect on January 1, 2009. Most Georgia drivers should expect to see a mailing asking them to make their new selections this winter.
The change is significant and it can be confusing. Under the old scheme, you either chose to have Georgia uninsured motorist insurance coverage or you chose to waive it. If you did have it and you were injured in a car accident in Georgia, the first inquiry was “how much insurance does the other driver have?” Let’s assume the bad driver had the minimum limits of $25,000.00 and that you had $50,000.00 in Uninsured coverage. You would be entitled to seek the bad guys $25,000.00 and then another $25,000.00 from your own policy. (there are certain exceptions under which you could recover more but they involve situations where the insured had to repay certain Federal programs)
Under the new scheme as laid out in O.C.G.A. §33-7-11(b), the consumer can now make three basic choices. First you can chose to waive the coverage entirely. (bad idea) Second you can get Add-On type Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage. This is the best choice. Going back to the example above, if the bad guy has $25,000.00 and you have $50,000.00 of Add-On type Uninsured Motorist coverage then you can recover up to $75,000.00 for a serious injury.
The final variety is Reduced Uninsured Coverage which functions exactly like the current Uninsured Motorist Insurance does in Georgia.
It is challenging, but the bottom line is that you should buy as much coverage as you can possibly afford because once the collision occurs, it is too late. I have had countless clients that are frustrated when they learn that despite sustaining a serious injury, the maximum recovery is capped by the bad guy’s minimum limits policy.